EVER HEARD OF THE TERM “SKINNY FAT?” DOES IT APPLY TO YOU?
By Cheryl Alker
Whether we like it or not, the truth of the matter is that most people turn to exercise to maintain or reduce weight. The argument for that is of course, it doesn’t matter what the motivation is, as long as you exercise regularly. Who actually cares what got you there in the first place?
We all know, as it is certainly well documented, that regular exercise is essential for overall wellbeing.
So what if you were naturally thin? Do you think the motivation to exercise might be as strong? What about the motivation to eat healthy nutritious food?
Does the bathroom scale tell the full story?
The “perfect” number on the bathroom scale doesn’t guarantee perfect health. In fact most people automatically think that just because someone is thin then they are automatically healthy. However, the opposite can be true, as despite an ideal weight on the scale their lifestyle and nutrition can be far from ideal.
Unfortunately all too often, we look at the number in between our toes, and we use it to make conclusions about our health.
The truth of the matter is that “thin” individuals can be as dangerously out of shape and unhealthy as an someone who is overweight. In fact it can often be worse, as the motivation to make healthy lifestyle changes are drastically reduced due to the “healthy” number on the scale.
Dr. Mark Hyman from the Institute for Functional Medicine reports that 23 percent of healthy-weight adults and 37 percent of healthy-weight children are “metabolically obese but normal weight” (MONW). He calls this “skinny fat”. Those who are skinny fat are at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and every other disease that overweight individuals are at risk for due to their poor eating habits, lack of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle.
Unfortunately, what will often happen, is that a doctor will obviously speak to an overweight individual about healthy choices and risks associated with obesity. However someone presenting themselves with a Body Mass Index (BMI) that fits the “healthy’’ criteria will not delve into their lifestyle. Even they presume the patient is healthy if there are no other symptoms to suggest otherwise.
Does this apply to you? Do you have excess fat in the abdominal region? Do you get sugar cravings? Do you suffer with high blood pressure? Are you “skinny fat?”
If you believe this is the case it’s time to make a change. Eating whole foods including plenty of fruit and vegetables and drinking water regularly is vital. Don’t forget the exercise either. Include all the components of physical fitness:
- Cardio – a brisk walk, hiking, cycling, swimming etc.
- Muscular strength and endurance – a moderate weight training program, whether with weights or your own body weight.
- Flexibility – don’t forget to stretch it increases range of movement at the joints and improves functionality.
So whether you’re “skinny fat” or overweight, healthy lifestyle habits apply to us all, no matter what the scales are telling us.